ORGANISERS of the second annual West Way Festival have been reassured about its future by the firm hoping to redevelop the area.
The festival takes place in The Square, Botley, tomorrow, with about 200 people expected to attend.
Charlie Bartlett from Cafe Aloha organised the 12-hour event, starting at midday and finishing at midnight, but said he was unsure how it could be held in the future amid the £100m West Way development planned for the area.
The plan would see the current shopping centre flattened and replaced with a new, larger complex.
More than 700 people, out of 800 respondees to a consultation on on the plans, did not want the development to go ahead.
A decision on the plans by Vale of White Horse District Council was delayed in May, and a new date has not been set. Mr Bartlett, the cafe’s co-owner, said: “We are a small community but the event is popular and gives people a chance to have a good day together.
“It was such a success last year that we wanted to make sure it happened again this year.
“We want to keep it going for as long as possible because it brings so many people out into the community, but we are really not sure how or if that could be possible with the West Way development.
“It is very unclear. We would want to keep it going, it’s just not clear how it could.”
Last year more than 200 people attended the event.
Costs for the festival are kept to a minimum, with the Co-Operative lending a hand by sponsoring some of the meat for the barbecue.
But Doric Properties, developers of the Botley project, insisted the festival was the type of event which would be able to “thrive and grow” under its plans. Simon Hillcox, joint owner of Doric Properties, said: “The West Way Festival is a fantastic display of the local community spirit and is exactly the sort of thing that will be able to thrive and grow under our regeneration plans for the District Centre.
“The piazza, the size of nine tennis courts, will be complete with all the modern essentials required for hosting successful community events including powerpoints and safe pedestrian access.
“For the first time, an onsite centre manager will be working with local people to organise a variety of regular community events throughout the year, creating potential for farmers’ markets, open-air theatre, live opera and other live streaming opportunities in conjucntion with Cineworld as well as a whole host of event opportunities in partnership with schools, arts societies and so on.”
Tomorrow’s event features performances from musicians such as Sam Edwards, Pipa Moran and The Strumblemonkeys as well as zumba sessions from George Martini.
There will also be a barbecue, facepainting, a cake stall and the group against the West Way development,West Way Concern, will also have a stand.
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